Do you think kids should be wrapped in bubbles? Are you a helicopter parent? Do you “hover” over and around your kids in an attempt to protect them from the odd scratch, some dirt and the “wrong” 3 year old crowd? Well in a bid to get your kids out there playing freely, sans hand-sanitizer, leash and mobile phone, Lenore Skenazy (controversial novelist, columnist and mother) has declared May 22nd “Take your children to the park and leave them there day!”
On her Free Range Kids website, Lenore writes:
If our goal is to get kids back outside (it is), and playing together (it is), and for parents to relax (it is), and to start creating community again (it sure is!!!), then “Take Our Children to the Park… And Leave Them There Day” is a great first step.Across the country — what the heck, across the world — parents will converge upon local playgrounds and parks with their school-age kids.
Most of us used to play outside in the park, without our parents, without cell phones, without Purell or bottled water and we survived! Thrived! We cherish the memories! And if you believe the million studies that I’m always publishing here, kids are healthier, happier and better-adjusted if they get to spend some time each day in “free play,” without adults hovering.
So spread the word and be not afraid. Free-Range Kids never says there is no risk in the world, only that the risk is small and worth taking, as it always has been. The trade-off is kids who make up games, who solve problems, who discover nature and get moving (to coin a phrase). Kids who don’t need a screen to entertain them. Playing outside, on their own, is what kids all over the world do. We have forgotten how vital and wonderful it is.
Walk around your neighborhood. Do you see empty sidewalks? Empty yards? Empty playgrounds? It’s a waste — of childhood. Let’s bring it back, starting on May 22.
Is old-school parenting really back? Would you describe your own upbringing as free-range? Mine was. Lots of time running around the street and roller skating on the (gasp) road. If my own children tried to do either, I would, of course, freak.
If you have kids, would you describe your approach as being more ‘free-range’ or more ‘helicopter’?
Thanks Chas and thanks Danielle